The city of pearls has turned a favourite habitat for one of the world’s most venomous reptiles – the cobra. Going by the sightings and the rescue missions in the city over the last few years, the number of cobras found were more than any other species of snakes, including the non-poisonous ones.

Among other reasons, the trend points to increasing instances of human-animal conflict resulting from urbanisation. In fact, most snake rescue calls were received from the outskirts where construction and realty sector is booming.

Almost 95 per cent of snakes rescued in the last one year were cobras, says Wildlife Crime Control Bureau Special Officer Mahesh Agarwal.

“Cobras are usually found in places where there is an availability of food grains, since they feed on rats. Unlike other snakes, they can survive well and also come out of their habitat in search of food. Apart from these reasons, an increase in construction also might be reasons why we are spotting so many cobras in the city.”

According to Mr. Aggarwal, they had rescued about 200 cobras in the last one year. The figures available with popular NGO Friends of Snakes Society also hint at a similar trend. About 44 per cent of the total rescued snakes in 2013 in and around city were cobras, followed by rat snakes.

Avinash Visvanathan, General Secretary, Friends of Snakes Society cautions that for all the cobras being rescued, there might be many being killed too.

“People are not always patient to sightings and end up killing the snakes. Such fear is not required. Sightings of cobras have only increased because of the destruction of their natural habitat. People should remember that snakes are needed to maintain ecological balance.”

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